Cara Valle

Visual Arts

Her naked skin, like morning glory long
uncut, hangs and clings in feral bunches.
She eyes the camera lens shyly and hunches,
arms over breasts. My trained eyes comb along
her outlines and methodically revise her:
I make her breasts routinely spherical,
her trunk a funnel grafted onto full,
neat tulip hips. This smooths and simplifies her.
She picks the baby up to nurse, ruining
my careful sketch. With eyes too tired to thresh
a tidy image out of her again,
I focus on the baby burrowed in
her downy arms—far easier than pruning
the equatorial jungle of her flesh.

The Fall of Poetry

You stand up, clinging to the second shelf,
and knead the carpet with your chubby feet.
you grin with pride, then start to feel yourself
lose balance. But you won't accept defeat:
you reach out blind and clutch a book of verse.
You fall. It falls on you. You scream and keen.
Just wait, my little guy: it gets much worse.
Just wait until you're my age and you've seen
your twenties—thirties—vanish in a puff
of smoke, with no trace where the years have gone to.
You'll realize then that books aren't firm enough
for holding on to.


I loved you light and milky as a child,
unwrapping waxy hunks from colored foil
at Halloween and Easter. You would spoil
my dinner, clog my throat, and drive me wild
with glucomania. Then, as I grew,
I learned to medicate myself with you.
The college vigils that you helped me through,
the cramps, each breakup's tearful residue—
I'm grateful. But, with each new year that passes,
my taste is for your dark and bitter layers.
I like dim light, sad novels, empty chairs:
I see the world through cocoa-colored glasses.
One day, I'll be sufficiently mature
to love life at its bitterest, most pure.


Cara Valle is a mother and teacher living in Chicago, IL. Her poems have appeared recently in The Lyric, The Grub Street Grackle, and Literary Mama. She grew up in Dayton, Ohio, earned a B.A. from Hillsdale College in 2010, and taught poetry in Phoenix, Arizona, before moving back to the Midwest in 2014.


Kim Bridgford
Deborah Bruce
Melissa Garcia Criscuolo
Barbara Crooker
Elise Hempel
Katherine Hoerth
Sujata Iyengar
Karen Kelsay
Siham Karami
Miriam Kotzin
Jean L. Kreiling
Luann Landon
Jenna Le (Featured Poet)
Lesléa Newman
Angela O'Donnell
Renée M. Schell
Susan Spear
Rebecca Starks
Cara Valle
Marilyn Westfall
Joyce Wilson
Marly Youmans


The two most recent additions to The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline are Elizabeth Barrett Browning by Eileen R. Kinch and Marceline Desbordes-Valmore by Anna M. Evans.

Wendy Videlock is the recipient of the 2016 Mezzo Cammin Scholarship to the Poetry by the Sea conference.

The Cheryl Yun Collection is a range of image-based sculptural objects or "products," from handbags to clothing, which simultaneously mirror and subvert fashion and consumer culture to reveal, question, and reevaluate one's relationship to the world.The Cheryl Yun Collection handbag series is handcrafted and features newspaper photographs of tragedy and catastrophe, religious and political conflict, as well as issues of beauty and control, while the Cheryl Yun Collection: lingerie and bathing suits is an image-based series of underwear, which questions the "victims" and "aggressors" of our current political, economic and religious conflicts.
32 Poems
The Academy of American Poets
The Atlantic
The Christian Science Monitor
The Cortland Review
Favorite Poem Project
The Frost Place
The Iowa Review
Light Quarterly
Modern American Poetry
The Poem Tree
Poetry Daily
Poetry Society of America
Poets House
Raintown Review
String Poet
Valparaiso Poetry Review
Verse Daily
Women's Poetry Listserv
The Yale Review

Bread Loaf
Poetry by the Sea


Barefoot Muse Press
David Robert Books
David R. Godine Press
Graywolf Press
Headmistress Press
The Johns Hopkins University Press
Louisiana State University Press
Northwestern Univ Press
Ohio Univ Press
Persea Books
Red Hen Press
Texas Tech Univ Press
Tupelo Press
Univ of Akron Press
Univ of Arkansas Press
Univ of Illinois Press
Univ of Iowa Press
Waywiser Press
White Violet Press

City Lights
Grolier Poetry Bookshop
Joseph Fox Bookshop
Prairie Lights
Tattered Cover Bookstore

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Literary Mothers
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